JUMEIRAH REGATTA GIVES NEW DRIVE TO UAE TITLE RACE
The drive to take sailing in the UAE to a new level gains extra momentum at the weekend when more than 300 competitors line up for the 2005 Jumeirah Regatta, round two of the UAE National Championships.
Sponsored by Jumeirah, the Dubai - based luxury hospitality group, the two-day event will showcase much of the top young
sailing talent in the UAE where major efforts are being made to encourage greater participation, fairer competition and more
public awareness of sailing.
Featuring three generations of sailing enthusiasts with an age range of seven to 68 years, the regatta, taking place at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel Events Arena in Dubai on Thursday and Friday, will be dominated by youth as it forms part of the national championships for the first time.
While some of the youngsters on view will be gaining their first serious competitive experience beyond their local club activities, many will use the event as a warm-up for the Dubai Junior Regatta, the world’s largest junior sailing event, taking place in January.
The regatta line-up will include most of the members of the UAE national team, created by the youth sailing programme launched five years ago by Dubai International Marine Club.
Several members of that team have already gained experience at senior competitive level in the exciting Maktoum Sailing Trophy and all are currently undergoing intensive training before taking on the world’s best at the 2006 Dubai Junior Regatta, as well as next year’s Asian Games in Doha.
“These are exciting times for sailing in the UAE and we are delighted to be supporting the initiative to help youngsters further their sailing education,” said Gerald Lawless, Chief Executive Officer for Jumeirah, and a keen member of Jebel Ali Sailing Club. “The Jumeirah Regatta has become very well established since being launched six years ago and its inclusion in the UAE Championships for the first time is a positive step forward."
Now in their fifth year, the eight-round UAE Championships draw entrants from Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, Jebel Ali Sailing Club, Dubai International Marine Club, Emirates Heritage Club Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Sailing Club. The first round of the 2005-06 series at DOSC last weekend attracted an impressive entry of 120 boats.
“The main aim of the UAE Championships is to bring more youngsters into the sport and raise sailing standards and awareness through a series of competitive events,” said Saeed Hareb, chairman of the UAE Marine Sports Federation. “The support of organisations like Jumeirah is vital to help us achieve our goals.”
The Jumeirah Regatta features three classes of Optimists – cadet, junior and senior - as well as junior and senior categories for Laser 4.7s, and toppers which are in the series for the first time, alongside Laser Radials, standard sails, and double handers. The event also finds a place for cruisers, although these will not feature in the championship.
Getting under way on Thursday at 2pm and at 10am the following morning, racing will be over two separate courses, one for the optimists, toppers and lasers and the other for the multi hull, standard sail and double handers.
After the Jumeirah Regatta the 2005-06 UAE National Championships continue with further rounds at Emirates Sailing Club Abu Dhabi (1-2 December), JASC (15-16 December), Abu Dhabi Sailing Club (23-24 February), DIMC (2-3 March), JASC (30-31 March), concluding with the Emirates Airline Regatta at DIMC on 13-14 April.
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